When we delve into the marketing section of a manual, something that often seems to have received little attention prior to our visit is the corporate style guide.  A style guide is a document that we often include in the operations manual, but that may also be a separate document, that outlines the do’s and don’ts of any marketing material or document that is created for outside consumption.

A few things to consider include:

  • Logo and colors. What are the PMS colors?  Is there a certain amount of space I need to leave around the logo?  What do I use for black and white printing?  Can I edit the logo or remove elements to make it fit better?  Can I squeeze it when I need it to fit tighter spaces?
  • Logo placement. Where does the logo go on letterhead, business cards and vehicles?  Can I make pens or stickers and is there a placement or format promotional materials?
  • Trademark names. What trademark names can I use and how do I identify that they are trademarks? Can I put these on my business card, card or bumper sticker?  Where can I use the trademarked phrases?
  • Font sizes, colors and types. What is the official font, size and color? What do we use for headings? Is there a specific footer or header format?

Many companies may provide franchisees pre-approved business card templates and vehicle wrap templates.  In some cases, we see companies that provide all marketing collateral to franchisees so they don’t have to consider a corporate style.  But even if you provide all marketing and PR material for your franchisees, it’s important to have a style guide for your corporate office and marketing department.  I always tell clients that if you removed the logo from your marketing piece, it should still look like it came from your company.  Standardizing the look and various elements will go a long way of achieving that goal and make sure that all of your customer communications remain consistent.

If you have questions or need help developing a corporate style guide, give us a call.